Tournament Report: Warhammer World Killteam Matched Play September 2021


Those among my regular playgroup will already know that given the release schedules of both Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar, how long it takes to put together an army, and the several days worth of modelling and painting time it takes to get an army tournament ready for either of those game systems, I have been winding down a little and have been looking for something a lot smaller in scale so fit my generally busier schedule these days.

Enter Kill Team (The more astute of my readers will notice that there has been an increase in Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team articles from me recently after it's public release 3 weeks ago). I've genuinely been enjoying playing Kill Team so far and would rank it as one of Games Workshop's better game systems, probably on par with the Hobbit SBG rules and definitely above their regular mainstream games. The Kill Team matched play event at Warhammer World was their first event back after lockdown and first ever for this game system but in my opinion the standard has been set in terms of terrain and missions that all other TOs might just struggle to live up to. Let's take a look at the day in some more detail.

Event Essentials

The format of the event was fairly standard; 4 games in a 1 day event. Players were required to bring a matched play roster so they had some flexibility during the day and could bring the best options depending on which opponents they were facing and the mission requirements.

The scoring system used actually had mixed reactions before the event but I think in hindsight the decision to rank players by Victories -> Tac Ops -> Overall VPs was the correct way to do things. It encourages players to actually try and score as many secondaries as possible over just overlooking them and focusing on primaries (appropriate given that they are one third of your total VPs for a game). There were no painting VPs handed out because everything in official GW events has to be painted anyway but in general I still do like the idea of gaining additional points by participating in the whole hobby.

One small criticism I do have about the event overall is with the round timings; Having the first game go directly into lunch and then playing 3 back to back games makes the latter half of the day feel very long. I do think that with a slightly earlier start they could fit 2 games in before and after lunch to break this up slightly.

Missions and Terrain

This is where I feel like Games Workshop has set the standard for Killteam Events. To be played at it's best, Killteam requires a certain level of terrain and even that has to be of a specific type. Otherwise some killteams are disadvantaged due to open fire-lanes with no cover/obscuring pieces and similarly others are at a massive advantage; too much terrain favors close combat teams, and too little favors ranged. To solve this issue, Games Workshop set up the terrain for every board in the event with the first two missions being played on the same layout and changing the layout for the third and fourth games. There were two types of board layouts depending on which terrain was used (Octarius or Vertigus) and they also provided a breakdown of each terrain piece along with it's specific rules (cover and traversable/heavy/scramble/etc.). Both layouts had a good amount of both heavy and light traversable terrain with no easy firelanes and no vantage points in the deployment zones which meant that operatives at least had to move to where they wanted to be.

Octarius Terrain setup for the first two games

Vertigus Terrain setup for the first two games

In addition to this, the missions were specifically chosen for those particular terrain layouts as to not give any particular faction an advantage over the other. The boards themselves were asymmetrical so for me it felt like there was a real choice to be had when choosing to attack or defend (As defender chooses the killzone), and during the day I was never unhappy with having to play as the defender and go second.

The Games

My 4 Fireteam Roster consisted of Warriors with Gauss Reapers, Immortals with Tesla, Immortals with Gauss, Flayed Ones and Leaders for the Immortal units.

For Tac-Ops I always go for Security trying to draw Sieze Ground, Central Control and then any one of Hold the Line or Protect Assets. Damage Limitation and my Killteams always consisted of the Warriors and the Gauss Immortals. I didn't keep a detailed account of my games as I played them (because I prefer actually playing instead of book-keeping) but here are some hot takes;

Game 1: Necrons Vs Tau (Loot and Salvage)

My first opponent of the day had T'au; I have played a bit of this killteam already so I'm well aware of it's limitations - specifically the stealth suits having to move to get to vantage points (and if they do, are unable to move and both shoot and use their stealth fields in the same turn), and having generally weaker troops in the pathfinders that if they wanted to shoot would invariably die in the return fire. His killteam was 3 Stealth Suits (Leader with Fusion and a Target Lock and the rest with Stimm Injectors), and a bunch of Pathfinders with the Recon Drone, the anti-charge drone and a Rail Rifle. For Tac-Ops I always go for Security trying to draw Sieze Ground, Central Control and then any one of Hold the Line or Protect Assets.

I split up my forces into three groups of warriors/immortals all with conceal on the first turn and the general gameplan was to push forward to the three capture points in my half of the board. The first round saw a pathfinder dash ontop of a vantage point with his rail rifle and vaporise an Immortal who would then come back to life on the second turning point but otherwise the game consisted of switching my Immortals to engaged to kill whatever had shot at them in the last activation and using the bulk of my warriors to tie up objectives whilst providing a good 6" gauss-based deterrent. A quick shout-out to stim injectors; On my first Immortal shot vs a Stealthsuit I put 13 wounds onto it but only saw 4 stick thanks to those saves.

Game 2: Necrons vs AdMech (Sieze Ground)

Game 2 was against Charles from my regular gaming group. Does anyone else have that one person that regardless of the size of event you always get drawn against also? He brought a Killteam consisting of Vanguard, Infiltrators and an Infiltrator Alpha. He managed to get his Arc rifle up onto a vantage point early to melt an Immortal and I wasn't able to retaliate easily due to the combined combat and shooting threat that his Vanguard and Infiltrators posed. All in all, it was a difficult game as his top-end shooting managed to just out-do mine, with a couple of very bad Warrior shootings sealing the deal. In hindsight there was a move I could have made with an overwatching Immortal that would have netted a 3-4vp swing in my favor but even then it would have probably resulted in a draw.

Game 3: Necrons Vs Thousand Sons (Awaken the Data Spirits)

My opponent took a fireteam of Tzaangor with magic horns and blades, and a fireteam of Thousand Sons with their Aspiring Sorcerer. I was defending here so I used the same strategy as round 1 (splitting the force into 2 groups this time instead of 3) but the key was to try and deal with the sorcerer early so that his psychic powers wouldn't skew the game in his favor. To do this the idea was to deploy everything concealed but offer one of the groups of Necrons as bait for a firestorm with it's indirect, barrage and blast and then during the scouting phase choose infiltrate to switch the order on one of my Immortals for the counter attack. The plan worked perfectly and after taking only a couple of wounds on 2 immortals and a warrior after saves (which were promptly regenerated with living metal next turn), the Sorcerer was dead before the end of the first turning point.

The rest of the game was me advancing up onto the objectives to hold them and to keep operatives out of range of my dropzone (my secondaries being Sieze Ground, Central Control and Hold the Line) and dealing with Tzaangors one by one as they popped out, murdered a warrior and then evaporated from gauss fire. I do have a newfound respect for Tzaangor with their magic horns and blades; 4 attacks with rerolls on everything and lethal 5+ is no joke; by the end of the game I had actually taken significant casualties due to the charges mid-game and it wasn't until the last turning point where I scored a combined 8VPs (4 primary and 4 secondary) where I managed to close out the game.

Game 4: Necrons Vs Death Guard (Duel of Wits)

My Final game was against Death Guard with 5 Marines (no poxwalkers as they require 2AP to do the mission objectives). Generally my Killteam does quite well against such small numbers due to my larger number of activations so I tried to bait out the gunner's plasma by leaving two of my immortals engaged instead of concealed at the beginning of the game and choosing infiltrate again to switch another to active if the first two didn't manage to do the job. The gunner popped his head out to shoot an Immortal, failed to secure the kill and then had 3 Immortals shooting back in return.

With only 4 operatives remaining and a mission that requires you to be able to capture points by having more APL it went downhill from there for the Death Guard player. I threw as many Warriors as I could on my closest objective and kept a sizable force within spotting range of the second in the middle of the board so that if any marines came out I would lose a Warrior but it would die in the return fire.

Final Placement

Overall with 3 wins and a loss but some respectable Tactical Objective scores I came 4th out of the 40 players who participated in the event, only placing after the three players who went 4 wins throughout the day (Incidentally being Custodes, Custodes and Ork Kommandos being piloted by the actual designer of the game). I think from all of my games, I have managed to solidify my playstyle; Necrons are a Killteam that are able to play a longer game - baiting out shooting and charges and surviving by virtue of their Reanimation Protocols and delivering impressive return fire. I have written an accompanying piece HERE going into my thoughts on the Killteam itself and how I like to play it but I look forward to playing more of them in the future; I know that a few people were discounting them as a 'proper' competitive team due to the slow movement and only 2APL but from my experience I think that they can be a real force to be reckoned with.

The final standings; A good mix of Killteams in the top 10 with decent showings from Death Guard, Forge World and T'au. I think the mix shows just how well individual Killteams can perform against eachother.

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